Of course it’s a Hallmark moment, but where did it all begin? Many of us have heard of the execution by Emperor Claudius of two men (both coincidentally named Valentine), whose martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. (Doesn’t actually sound very romantic to us, but OK.). If you dig back a bit deeper, you will find a juicier story, as we did when we learned about the inspiration for the work of one of ARTprojectA’s artists, Simon Casson.
Casson, an English artist who is considered to be “one of the most highly skilled painters of his generation” (Jay Merrick, The Independent), has a series of work based loosely around the “Lupercalia”, an ancient festival of Rome. Lupercalia is believed by some to be the mother of the modern Valentine’s Day. Arnie Seipel of NPR, “Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well, hitting them…..From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.”
Hmmm. While this story may not exactly coincide with our notion of romance, Simon Casson’s lush portrayals of Lupercalia are most definitely romantic and deeply sensual. His prints, Luperalia The Ravishment of Ilia and LupercalIa Feasting, are available at ARTprojectA, at a non-romance-squelching price of $550.
If your idea of romance is not inclined to Simon Casson’s “punk-baroque imagery”(Jay Merrick, The Independent), there are many other marvelous and romance-inspiring works of art to choose from for your sweetheart, including pieces by Greg Gummersall, Inez Storer, Imogen Cunningham, Harold Feinstein and Kirk Anderson. And of course, jewelry by Sydney Lynch, Kary Kjesbo, and Susan Elnora.